Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter Book 7 of 7)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

It’s hard to believe the series is over after spending the last three weeks immersed in it! By the end, I was even dreaming about it while I was asleep which isn’t that common of a phenomenon for me. Although I had some quibbles here and there, and although there were definitely things in the series that I wish hadn’t happened, it kept me engrossed and entertained. I’m really glad I finally got around to reading the Harry Potter series.


The first book definitely felt like a children’s book in terms of the author’s story-telling voice and, while the story was a lot of fun, sometimes the young tone felt tiresome to me. Either I got used to it, or it completely vanished, because I didn’t notice it in the remaining books. As far as the content, the books slowly transitioned from fairly tame books to darker books. In the earlier books, the main problem(s) for that book are resolved and all of our good guys come out pretty much unscathed. As the series progresses, this becomes less and less true and there are some painful moments. Although the first book arguably wasn’t all that twisty, the rest of the series is quite twisty. This is one of the things I really enjoyed about it, because it was fun speculating about what was really going on, who was responsible for what, and so forth.


I have my usual rambling and random comments about this last book that I’ll have to put in spoiler tags.


Ah ha… so Severus Snape wasn’t totally evil! I had felt fairly confident of that for most of the series because I trusted Dumbledore, but I started to have more doubts in the previous book given everything that happened. I was sorry he died in the end. I would have liked to see him and Harry have a chance to mend fences a bit once all the trauma was over. I doubt they would have ever been best buddies, but I think they would have had more respect and understanding for each other. I really liked the name Harry gave his younger son – Albus Severus. That decisions shows a lot about how he viewed Severus Snape in the end. In an odd little coincidence of timing, I reached the part where Snape died on the same day that the actor’s death was announced.


This book was kind of a bloodbath, wasn’t it? The worst one for me was definitely Lupin. I really liked him in the third book. I never felt like we saw enough of him in the remaining books, but I always enjoyed it when we did. And poor Hedwig! And poor little faithful Dobby. And Fred. And Tonks. And Colin. And probably Mad-Eye, although we were never told for absolute certain that he was dead. Harry’s friends couldn’t find his body, and his magical eye turned up in the possession of Umbridge so we know they must have either captured him or found his dead body, but we were never told for sure what happened. Harry lost his broom, too. That was more replaceable, but I still felt a little bad because it was the one that Sirius had given him. After everything that happened, I actually half-believed that Harry was really going to die when we learned that he was supposed to let Voldemort kill him.


I also felt bad when Harry’s trusty wand was destroyed, and I was happy he was able to repair it in the end. I was also generally happy with the choices he made about what to do with the hallows in the end. Harry seemed to grow up a little over-sudden, maybe, but I enjoyed seeing him make more mature decisions. He usually acted in an admirably noble way throughout the series, but he also often acted rashly and caused a lot of problems himself. I saw Hermione as the voice of reason in the group, but it was a voice he often ignored.


I really missed Dumbledore in this book, even though he wasn’t completely absent. It just wasn’t the same. I did enjoy learning more about his past and the decisions he made that led him to where he was. I wish the paintings at Hogwarts had been explained. They acted as if they were sentient, especially considering the conversation Harry had with Dumbledore's painting in his former office near the end. Were they just magically enchanted to mimic the personalities of their subjects, or were the souls of the dead subjects actually able to inhabit the paintings for a while and interact with people? Considering that we’re told that Dumbledore and Sirius and others would have “moved on” after death, which is why they didn’t show up as ghosts, they seemed to be remarkably well-informed about what’s going on in the living world if the spirits Harry “resurrected” with the stone were any indication and if they were truly what they appeared to be.


I like the way the author seems to have had everything planned out practically from the start. There are lots of little details in the earlier books that become relevant later on. For example, I vaguely remembered reading about them finding the locket in the fourth(?) book, which turned out to be one of the Horcruxes. I don't normally do much re-reading, but I could see where this would be a fun series to re-read someday.

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Thanks again to everybody who has been following and commenting on my reviews while I read this series. It’s been so much fun to have people to talk to about the books while I was reading them, and who were always careful not to spoil anything for me. It’s been much appreciated!